Heritage Foundation

Heritage Foundation

The Heritage Foundation is an American conservative think tank.cite web|url=http://www.pfaw.org/pfaw/general/default.aspx?oid=4287|title=People for the American Way. Right-Wing Organizations: Heritage Foundation.|accessdate=2007-09-12] Founded in 1973, it is based in Washington, D.C., in the United States.

Heritage's stated mission is to "formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense." [http://www.heritage.org/about/ Heritage Foundation - About] ]

The Heritage Foundation's initial funding came from political conservative Joseph Coors, co-owner of the Coors Brewing Company. [ [http://www.nndb.com/people/129/000025054/ Joseph Coors, Sr. at NNDB.] ] Funding from Coors was later augmented by financial support from billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife. Conservative activist Paul Weyrich was its first head. Since 1977, Heritage's president has been Edwin Feulner, Jr., previously the staff director of the House Republican Study Committee and a former staff assistant to U.S. Congressman Phil Crane.

Until 2001, the Heritage Foundation published "Policy Review", a public policy journal, which was then acquired by the Hoover Institution. From 1995 to 2005, the Heritage Foundation ran Townhall.com, a conservative website. [ [http://www.townhall.com/AboutUs.aspx About Us] Townhall.com]

History and major initiatives

"Mandate for Leadership"

Heritage's 1981 book of policy analysis, "Mandate for Leadership" was a landmark in advocacy for limited government. At 1,000-plus pages, "Mandate for Leadership" offered specific recommendations on policy, budget and administrative action for all Cabinet departments.

Cold War and foreign policy involvement

In the 1980s and early 1990s, the Heritage Foundation was a key architect and advocate of the "Reagan Doctrine", under which the United States government supported anti-Communist resistance movements in such places as Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia and Nicaragua and generally supported global anti-communism during the Cold War. Heritage foreign policy analysts also provided policy guidance to these rebel forces and to dissidents in Eastern bloc nations and Soviet republics.

The foundation was instrumental in advancing President Ronald Reagan's belief that the former Soviet Union was an "evil empire" and that its defeat, not its mere containment, was a realistic foreign policy objective. Heritage also played a key role in building support for Reagan's plans to build an orbital ballistic missile shield, known as the "Strategic Defense Initiative".

Internationally, and in partnership with the "Wall Street Journal", Heritage publishes the annual "Index of Economic Freedom", which measures a country's freedom in terms of property rights and freedom from government regulation. The factors used to calculate the "Index" score are corruption in government, barriers to international trade, income tax and corporate tax rates, government expenditures, rule of law and the ability to enforce contracts, regulatory burdens, banking restrictions, labor regulations, and black market activities. Deficiencies lower the score on Heritage's "Index".

Since the end of the Cold War, Heritage has continued to be an active voice in foreign affairs and has been generally supportive of President George W. Bush's foreign policies.

Domestic economic policies

In domestic policy, Heritage is a proponent of supply-side economics, which holds that reductions in the marginal rate of taxation can spur economic growth.

In 1994, Heritage advised Newt Gingrich and other conservatives on the development of the "Contract with America", which was credited with helping to produce a Republican majority in Congress. The "Contract" was a pact of principles that directly challenged both the political status-quo in Washington and many of the ideas at the heart of the Clinton administration. As such, Heritage is often credited with supplying many of the ideas that ultimately proved influential in ending the Democrats' control of Congress in 1994.

Policy influence

Heritage has hosted many influential foreign and domestic political leaders since its founding, including Congressmen, U.S. Senators, foreign heads of state, and U.S. Presidents. On November 1, 2007, President George W. Bush visited Heritage to defend his appointment of Michael Mukasey to succeed Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General of the United States; Mukasey's nomination faced opposition in the U.S. Senate over the nominee's refusal to label the interrogation tactic of waterboarding as illegal. [ [http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/politics/la-na-mukasey2nov02,1,5162807.story?coll=la-news-politics-national&track=crosspromo "Bush Raises Stakes on Mukasey," "The Los Angeles Times", November 2, 2007.] ] Mukasey was confirmed and became Attorney General eight days later.

Heritage's influence is also due in part to its decision to publish shorter policy papers that are designed to convey usually complex topics in an executive summary format more likely to be read by governmental officials. Other Washington think tanks historically have produced lengthier publications or book-length works, which Heritage also publishes, but only rarely.

The Heritage Foundation also publishes "The Insider", a quarterly magazine about public policy.

Several Heritage Foundation personnel have served, or gone on to serve, in senior governmental roles, including: Richard V. Allen, L. Paul Bremer, Elaine Chao, Lawrence Di Rita, Michael Johns, John Lehman, Edwin Meese, Steve Ritchie, and others. [http://www.nndb.com/org/489/000049342/ NNDB - The Heritage Foundation] ]


Heritage is primarily funded through donations from private individuals and charitable foundations. Businessman Joseph Coors contributed the first $250,000 to start The Heritage Foundation in 1973. Other significant contributors have included the conservative Olin, Scaife, DeVos and Bradley foundations.

In 2007 Heritage reported an operating revenue of $48.7 million dollars. $26.4 million came from individual donors, $16.8 million from foundations and $2.2 million from corporations. [ [http://www.heritage.org/About/upload/AnnualReport07.pdf The Heritage Foundation 2007 Annual Report] ] As of August, 2008 Heritage reported 355,000 individual donors.

In 2006, the Foundation established the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, [http://www.thatchercenter.org/ Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom] ] based on a grant from the Margaret Thatcher Foundation, to promote United States/United Kingdom cooperation and to advance the transatlantic alliance between the two countries. Lady Thatcher has since been named Patron of the Heritage Foundation, her only official association with any U.S.-based group. [ [http://www.myheritage.org/Features/HMN/2006/winter/Thatcher.asp A new birth of freedom] , Heritage Members News, Winter 2006]

Think tank competitors

Similar think tanks include the American Enterprise Institute and, with the exception of certain foreign policy and social issues, the libertarian Cato Institute. The Center for American Progress performs many of the same functions as Heritage, but from a left-wing perspective and on a smaller scale.


Headquarters for the Heritage Foundation are located at 214 Massachusetts Avenue, Northeast, in the Capitol Hill section of Washington, D.C..

June 12, 2008 fire

On June 12, 2008, shortly before 2 p.m., a fire broke out at the Heritage Foundation's Washington, D.C headquarters building as work was being done on the front facade of the building. The fire caused only minor damage, according to a statement released on the Heritage Foundation's blog, "The Foundry." [ [http://blog.heritage.org/2008/06/12/fire-at-heritage-extinguished "Fire at Heritage Extinguished," The Foundry, Heritage Foundation blog, June 12, 2008.] ]


External links

* [http://www.heritage.org/ Heritage Foundation official website]
* [http://www.heritageblogs.org/ Heritage Foundation blog]
* [http://www.nndb.com/org/489/000049342/ Heritage Foundation profile] , NNDB
* [http://www.policyexperts.org/ PolicyExperts.org]
* [http://www.youtube.com/user/HeritageFoundation Heritage Foundation YouTube channel]
* [http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/1477 "RightWeb" profile of Heritage Foundation]
* [http://www.mediatransparency.org/recipientgrants.php?recipientID=153 Foundation grants given to the Heritage Foundation] , 1985-2004, Media Transparency

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